Friday, September 28, 2018

Unemployment Rate Falls In 13 Metro Areas

Jobless rates are going down in parts of the state.  Preliminary data released yesterday shows unemployment rates decreased in 13 metropolitan areas from August 2017 to August 2018.  Illinois businesses added jobs in ten metro areas, with the largest increase in Kankakee.  Carbondale-Marion, Springfield and Bloomington lost jobs.

Rauner to Pantagraph: A Massive Auto Plant Would Vve Come to McLean Co, But...

A massive auto plant would have come to McLean County, but the state's burdensome business regulations stood in the way, Gov. Bruce Rauner said Thursday when he met with the Pantagraph's editorial board. Rauner said a $1.6 billion joint venture between Toyota and Mazda that will employ 4,000 workers in Huntsville, Ala., was bound for Central Illinois — but company officials didn't want to deal with rules that make employees at businesses with labor unions join the union.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Both Candidates for McLean County Clerk Have Ethics Complaints Against Them

In a press release via her Facebook page last night, incumbent McLean County Clerk Kathy Micheal, Republican,  revealed she was informed that an Ethics Complaint has been filed against her. Several weeks ago--as first reported on Cities 92.9--a request for an Ethics Investigation against her opponent, Nikita Richards, a Democrat and a city of Bloomington employee, was made by a private citizen.

District 87 Passes Deficit Budget: $2.6 in the Red

The District 87 school board last night approved a 2018-19 budget that calls for a deficit of about $2.6 million in its operating funds. Officials say the trend of budget deficits is manageable for now, but changes in spending and/or revenue may have to be made in a few years if things don't improve.

Most Midwestern Gas Prices Higher

It's not your imagination, gas prices across most of the Midwest are higher this week.  Triple-A says the average gallon of regular gas in Illinois costs two-dollars 93-cents per-gallon.  That's higher than all of our neighbors, and higher than the national average of two-dollars 87-cents per-gallon.  Those prices may be as high as they are because of slowdowns at several refineries across the region.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Shooting Update

Bloomington police continue to investigate a Tuesday morning shooting that left at least one person injured in the 300 block of South Western Avenue. The victim was treated ata local hospital and later released. Police continue to search for a suspect.

Weapons Charges Filed After Bloomington Standoff

Prosecutors in Bloomington are pushing ahead with weapons charges against a local man who they say held police at bay over the weekend for nearly five hours.  The McLean County State's Attorney's office yesterday filed charges against Cody Powell for having a weapon and ammunition without a FOID card.  Bloomington Police say Powell barricaded himself inside his west Bloomington home on Sunday.

Luke Bryan ISU Ag Scholarships

Country singer Luke Bryan recently honored his roots by establishing the Luke Bryan Farm Tour Scholarship at ISU, which provides support for students majoring in agriculture. Four students were awarded scholarship dollars from this gift. Bryan’s scholarship gift is part of the University’s $150 million comprehensive campaign, Redbirds Rising: The Campaign for Illinois State.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Frontier Airlines Start Flights From Bloomington-Normal

Flyers in central Illinois, you have another option.  Frontier Airlines started their new flights from Bloomington-Normal to Denver yesterday.  Frontier will start flights to Orlando next week.  Central Illinois Regional Airport Executive Director Carl Olson says he hopes the new flights can reverse a six-year-long drop in passengers at the airport.

Early Voting Begins This Week In Illinois

Illinois is still six weeks away from election day, but voters will get to cast a ballot this week.  The Illinois State Board of Elections says early voting begins Thursday.  Voting by mail also starts that day.  Voters can cast their ballot at the courthouse or election office, or specially designated temporary polls.

Bloomington City Council Votes to Increase Punishment for Chronic Property Code Violators

The Bloomigton City Council voted unanimously on an ordinance to impose stiffer fines on those who violate the city's property codes with chronic offenders to be subjected to more inspections. Chronic offenders will also pay the court costs and the minimum fines for each case.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Standoff Ends: Man Surrenders, Child Unharmed

A man surrendered to police and was arrested following a 5-hour standoff. The incident began at about noon Sunday when police say Cody Powell had been reported "threatening people in the area," When police arrived, Powell had barricaded himself inside the home with his son. As police rushed the front door, the child was let go and an officer quickly whisked him away from the home. Powell was seen shortly afterward leaving the home with officers, shirtless and in cuffs.

Clinton Teen Dies in ATV Accident

A Clinton High School student was killed in an ATV crash near Clinton Saturday.14-year-old Kloe Weiss, a freshman, died Saturday evening following an ATV crash near her home. The teenager was pronounced dead at the scene at 7:20 p.m. Saturday.

Lawsuit Accuses Five Lincoln Prison Workers Of Sexual Misconduct

A pair of federal lawsuits claims five workers at one of the prisons in Lincoln were all a part of a pattern of sexual misconduct.  WAND TV broke the story on Friday.  The lawsuits claim the workers forced or coerced female inmates at the Logan Correctional Facility into sexual relationships.  They're all facing charges.  Three of the workers have been fired or resigned, while two others are still working at the prison.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Rauner, Pritzker Spar At First Debate

Illinois voters' first look at the candidates for governor looked a lot like their campaign commercials.  Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrat J.B. Pritzker spent most of the night at last night's first debate jabbing at one another.  The two stuck mostly to their commercial talking points; taxes, spending, the governor's shortcomings and Pritzker's ties to Rod Blagojevich.  The third party candidates, Kash Jackson and Sam McCann were there as well, but mostly blended in the background.

Lincoln Artifact Curator Out Amid Questions About Multi-Million Dollar Hat

The man in charge of Abraham Lincoln artifacts at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum is out of a job just days after questions about a multi-million dollar hat resurfaced.  The museum yesterday said that Lincoln artifact curator James Cornelius was fired on Wednesday.  He'd been on leave for months.  Cornelius was named in a news report that said he told FBI agents who wanted to test a hat believed to be Abraham Lincoln's, to disguise themselves as reporters as not to tip anyone off at the museum.

ISU Announces McLean Co Scholarships

The McLean County Full Tuition Scholarship program was announced Thursday by Illinois State University President Larry Dietz during his annual State of the University address. The program will begin in fall 2019, awarding up to four years of free tuition to five students each year. The tuition waivers have a current value of about $50,000 over four years. The scholarships will be awarded based on the student's leadership, community service and civic engagement.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Two Semis on Fire SB I-39 Near Hudson

Two semi trucks caught fire this morning on southbound I-39 near the Hudson exit. One truck was reported to be in the ditch and the other is on the road. Witnesses tell us the fire started as an explosion. The McLean County Coroner's Office is on the scene. Traffic is being re-routed so that emergency crews can put out the fire and secure the scene.

Illinois State Police: Indiana Man Killed After Running On I-55

The Illinois State Police says an Indiana man is dead after running from the police in central Illinois.  Troopers say Zachary Doyle of Hammond, Indiana died Monday night after he ran away from a traffic stop on I-55 near Lexington.  Chenoa Police initially pulled Doyle over for an equipment infraction.  No one is saying why he ran.

Green Top Grocery Co-op Needs $400k or Face Closure

Although weekly sales at Green Top Grocery co-op have increased by 30% since their turnaround plan began in April, officials say they need to raise $400,000 this fall or close. This fundraising effort is part of the store’s turnaround plan after what officials called a disappointing first year of business. This new campaign to raise $400,000 through owner loans runs through Nov. 12. You can be an owner with a one-time purchase of a $200 share. Ownership is not required to shop at the store.

McLean County Gov't to Cut Taxes, Restore Raises, Add Jobs

McLean County officials plan to slightly reduce the county's property tax rate while also adding 16 jobs and restoring raises for non-union employees under a budget proposal presented Tuesday to the County Board. The move, which would be approved this fall,  comes a year after cutting jobs and services to fix a budget deficit.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Fatal Accident

A 27-year old man is dead after an accident near mile marker 180 on Southbound I-55 near Lexington shortly after 11 last night. The McLean County Coroner has not yet released his name. Details about the accident have also not been released. An autopsy is scheduled for today.

VenuWorks Delivers Report on Losses at Grossinger Motors Arena

VenuWorks, the  company that manages Grossinger Motors Arena, reported their $665,099 loss last night to the Bloomington City Council. Grossinger Motor Arena Executive Director Lynn Cannon says said the arena fell short of their projections this year because the numbers they used were given to them by the city and not former managers. VenuWorks is hopeful that with the right numbers they can help the arena flourish.

For the complete report :

Town of Normal Defends Spending Though Nearly $94 Million in Debt

Town of Normal officials defend the growth a nearly $94 million debt load has brought the community. The Pantagraph reports Mayor Chris Koos as saying, "It's all about being proactive. Sometimes you miss opportunities if your only goal is to be debt-free" He added that  "Most of the debt we've incurred has really driven economic development in the community, although we've done infrastructure debt as well," he said.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Area Red Cross Members Assisting Hurricane Victims

The American Red Cross has 43 people from central Illinois ready at evacuation shelters with food and supplies to assist those affected by hurricane Florence. Members say you can help with blood donations. If you can’t donate blood or want to help out another way, you can text the word “Florence,” to 90-999.

Cornbelt Energy Assisting in Hurricane Relief Efforts

Cornbelt Energy of Bloomington sent a group of 4 trucks and 8 linemen out early Thursday morning to wait out hurricane Florence at a staging area in Virginia today. After that, they will begin clearing the damage and helping to get power restored to the affected area.

Addressing State's Teacher Shortage

The Illinois State Board of Education will consider a seven-point proposal to address the teacher shortage in the state at its Oct. 17 meeting. An Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools survey found 60 percent of school districts reported trouble filling teaching positions and 75 percent had seen fewer qualified candidates than in previous years.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Bloomington Affordable Housing

The Bloomington Council voted to convert the old Bloomington High School building into housing units. The new complex will soon be made into over 50 units for seniors. Leaders say it will first be open to Bloomington residents and veterans 55 years and older. This is part of the city's comprehensive plan to give seniors on a fixed income, affordable housing. The project will cost the developers $17 million and the lease will be set for 10 years.

Twin Cities Has Nationally-Ranked Colleges

Illinois State University remains in the top 100 Best Colleges rankings by U.S. News and World Report at 91st among public national universities and number 171 overall. Illinois Wesleyan University's ranking is 72 this year.

Boys and Girls Club Gets Land for $1

The Bloomington-Normal Boys and Girls Club is about to expand. The Bloomington City Council voted to allow the club to purchase more than three acres inside Sunnyside Park for just one dollar. Leaders said the new space will allow them to build a brand new facility. Officials said they will now work towards creating a contract, which the council will then approve later.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Bloomington To Vote On Rental Assistance Program

The city of Bloomington could soon be helping a handful of senior citizens with their rent.  The city's council is set to vote tonight on a nearly 230 thousand dollar program that will help turn Bloomington's old high school into apartments.  Some of those apartments would be earmarked for four senior citizens for a decade.  Bloomington City Manager Tim Gleason says the project will both help some seniors, and find a new use for the city's historic high school building.

Senator Durbin: Republicans Need To End Their Silence On Trump

Illinois' senior U.S. senator says it's time for Republicans to speak up about President Trump's behavior.  Senator Dick Durbin was on NBC's Meet the Press yesterday, and said that it's unacceptable that Republicans are silent about what he calls the president's unpredictable, unprepared, unstable behavior.  Durbin said that Republicans should be the first ones to speak up. 

Governor Signs Harvest Emergency Order

Farmers across Illinois are getting a little help from the state in getting their crops out of the field.  Governor Rauner last week signed a harvest emergency order that allows farmers to carry heavier weights to market.  The order will allow farmers to move more corn or soybeans in a smaller amount of time.  The order is in effect till the end of the year.

Friday, September 7, 2018

College to Career Goes Live Online

College-bound students and their families now can consult an online program to determine the post-graduate economics of attending school in Illinois. The site is called and allows students to gauge future earnings from areas of study at a variety of public and private institutions. Students may click on a variety of academic disciplines for an individual school to determine expected salaries, student debt load and more.

IWU E-Sports Ribbon Cutting

Illinois Wesleyan University’s newest sport team held their inaugural opening ceremonies Thursday. The new E-Sports team at Wesleyan cut the ribbon on their brand-new home arena. While this is the team's first year recruiting a varsity class, this is not just a club for buddies to get together and play games. Like most other team sports, members of the program practice four times per week and analyze various games types. The E-Sports team has rivals all over the Midwest. Members added that they looking forward to putting on their home uniforms and winning matches.

Illinois Wesleyan University’s newest sport team held their inaugural opening ceremonies Thursday. The new E-Sports team at Wesleyan cut the ribbon on their brand-new home arena. While this is the team's first year recruiting a varsity class, this is not just a club for buddies to get together and play games. Like most other team sports, members of the program practice four times per week and analyze various games types. The E-Sports team has rivals all over the Midwest. Members added that they looking forward to putting on their home uniforms and winning matches.

Two From Illinois Helping To Write New Farm Bill

Illinois will have a large say in what the new federal farm bill looks like.  Two members of Congress from the state, Quad Cities Democrat Cheri Bustos and central Illinois Republican Rodney Davis, are a part of the committee that started work this week on a new package of farm subsidies and federal nutrition programs.  Bustos says she hopes the compromise plan will be more agreeable to everyone in D.C.